OPINION: Use fashion to your advantage, but don’t change who you are

OPINION: Use fashion to your advantage, but don’t change who you are

Leanne Mitchell

By Leanne Mitchell, 2nd year Fashion Design student at Middlesex University

Do we have to comply with society’s norms of dress? Why not strut down the street wearing a profusion of colour? Your life is your show and the world is your catwalk.  Why care what other people think?

If everyone wore the same clothes, the world would be a dull and monotonous place. Try something out of the box. Go on! For me, fashion enables you to express your unique personality and illustrate to the world who you are.

Clothing affects the way we look and feel – it influences our subconscious, affecting our mood and behaviour. How many of you can honestly say that you don’t feel happier in your best dress or suit?

We seem to form an emotional attachment to our favorite clothes and the memories they hold.  My favorite metallic silver skirt, which I wore on my first day of University, makes me cherish that unique memory whenever I wear it.

Wearing colour lets you evoke different feelings – if you wear bright clothes,  your bubbly personality will perforate through.

An outfit by the Indian fashion designer Manish Arora

Colour also affects our mood and emotions – an outfit can make us feel elegant, sophisticated, optimistic, feminine, positive, dull or even simplistic. It’s just the way the brain works. Moreover, colour enhances your perspective of the world.

The colour black has been present in traditional Jewish dress throughout the ages. But why has it always been black and not, for example, bright blue? Have you ever questioned this tradition? (Apologies if you now have the song from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in your head all day.)

Traditional Jewish beliefs hold that the absence of colour helps you to concentrate instead of being distracted by your physical exterior. Furthermore, black clothes are also stereotypical of not drawing attention to ones self.

But why do we have to follow these traditions? There is nothing to say that you can’t wear colour, however many people seem to stick to black and white.

Colours have a different meaning for each individual person. Do you perceive one colour differently to someone else? For instance, I perceive blue as calm and tranquil, whereas someone else might perceive it as a symbol of trust and loyalty.

You might be sitting there thinking, but what if I particularly like wearing dull colours? Not all colours suit everyone. Wearing dull clothes does NOT make you a dull person.

There is a prevalent colour in everyone’s wardrobe. What is the psychology behind your clothes? This question fascinates me.

Clothes ultimately make you feel more poised – well that’s my viewpoint. I believe clothes can make you feel more confident on the exterior and affect the way in which you feel on the inside.

I feel that clothes personify one’s character and even though they don’t define you, they certainly make a statement about yourself.

People usually make an assumption about you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. Who doesn’t? If you are sitting here reading this and saying to yourself that you don’t, think again. We all do it whether consciously or subconsciously.

But who says you always need to look and dress like the models in Vogue magazines? Where does everyone get this deluded idea that seems to be so entrenched?

Portraying pictures of skinny women in magazines depicts the wrong image. Cara Delevingne has just become the new face for Topshop’s Autumn/Winter collection for 2014. Yes, she looks good, but she doesn’t portray a healthy image that people should taper their appearance towards.

It bothers me that people subconsciously think “this is the way in which I need to look”. You shouldn’t have to feel that you need to be a size 6 model to be accepted by society because the reality is that all these models have been Photoshopped and airbrushed in order to look immaculate.

People should like themselves for who they are and feel content within themselves. Changing your physical image changes yourself entirely; it changes your mood and personality.

Yes, add a bit of colour to your wardrobe, but don’t change yourself. Only you can be yourself and no-one else can do that for you.

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